Posted by Bill Kany on Jun 19, 2019
 
 
First, thanks to all the club members who did show up for the meeting and stayed.  It was a very crowded room and an even more crowded parking lot (Keith Jacques didn’t even come in because he could not find a place to park and Haley Thompson parked at the train station).  Clearly, the good crowd and the warm applause after each award made the recipients feel appreciated.  Second, thank you again for all of your thoughtful nominations (except one of Heather’s which will never fly). 
 
Finally, thanks to all of the people who fibbed to get our recipients there.  The winner of our Private Sector Award, past club member, Tammy Ackerman, thought she was the speaker for the day and even brought her laptop and set up the projector and screen (never play poker with Conrad).  The Public Sector award winner, Martha Jacques from Biddeford’s Alternative Pathways Center, thought she was speaking (thank you Karen, you liar).  I called Elaine Fournier, our Humanitarian Award winner, and told her we were giving Open Hands Open Heart an award and she thought we were giving them money and I did little to dissuade that impression (hell, it comes natural to me, I’m a lawyer).  Finally, Jeremy Ray received the Vocational Service Award and Jeremy came and stayed with his young son (no daycare) because Karen told  him Martha was getting an award.  Oh my God, the truth!
 
 
Tammy was surprised.  Martha was very appreciative and indicated that when she graduated from high school one of her goals was to receive a Rotary Service Above Self Award because I think her grandfather was a long time Rotarian.  We were happy to make that goal come true though in reality Martha herself made it come true.  Elaine was thankful but made sure to thank her volunteers who prefer to stay well out of the limelight.  Finally, Jeremy thanked us and invited everyone to come and check out the improvements being made at the COT.
 
I also had the privilege and honor to give Ron Drouin the Goodwin Outstanding Service Award which was a bit difficult for me and chocked me up.  Ron is a true gentleman who has done so much for Rotary and our club.  His work as District Governor was tireless and Ron truly deserves our respect and our incredible appreciation for all that he has done. 
 
We also gave Paul Harris Awards to Mark Nahorney and Bill Paterson.  Both work hard for our club and are very deserving.
 
President Joe then gave out his Presidential Awards to Heather MacLean for consistently working check in every week, filling in as sergeant at arms and for the wine tasting event to just name a few of her contributions to the club.  Joe also gave a Presidential Award to Karen Chasse.  Trust me, Karen is like an iceberg.  You only see the tip of what she does for the club.  Because Joe had Julie order the awards he got flowers for Julie instead of a plaque. Joe, did it every dawn on you that I was ordering awards too?  Joe then thanked Heather for helping him pick out tokens of his appreciation for each of his Board members which was a classy gesture.  Finally, Joe named Conrad as Rotarian of the Year.  While it is absolutely true that Conrad did a great job coordinating programs (he was either related to, sleeping with or worked with most of them), the fact is that Conrad is the consummate hardworking, can do, volunteer who makes our club what it is and we all owe Conrad a huge thank you.  Rotarian of the Year was well-deserved recognition for all that Conrad does.
 
 
 
 
ROTARIAN OF THE YEAR- Conrad W
 
 
 
Again, thank you all for helping make awards day a success including getting all but one of our recipients to the meeting.  As I stated earlier, below is my awards presentation, though I have to chuckle because I suspect the only people who read the Tack are the people who were at the meeting anyway.
 
Each year we give out our Public, Private, Humanitarian and Vocational Service awards either to club members or to individuals or organizations outside the club whose acts of kindness, generosity and caring help to make our communities and the world a little better.  Year in and year out I can assure you that most of our recipients have not been people looking for recognition, and in fact, most of them would prefer to keep doing what they do outside of the limelight.  Our club, however, feels that our award recipients deserve a resounding thank you for their good works and it is our hope that by acknowledging the wonderful things these folks do we will inspire others to get involved.
 
 
PRIVATE SECTOR AWARD
 
The Private Sector Award is awarded to a citizen whose good works have been performed independently of their employment usually in the private sector. Recipients work for the public good, outside of his or her employment. An example of a past recipient would be a building contractor who works towards helping the hungry through setting up a self-supporting meal program.
 Past Winners
2014 Leo P. Menard, Jr.
2015  Leon Chick
2016 Andy Greif
2017 The Esther Residence
2018 Laurie Bruce
 
                The revitalization of a downtown is not inevitable.  It only occurs if a number of factors come together to create a new pride and a renewed energy.  In the case of Biddeford we had the removal of MERC, the acquisition and development of the mills, a renewed commitment to City Theater and a number of other factors that led to vast improvements to the downtown. In the midst of all of that were the Heart of Biddeford and Engine, serving as catalysts to all of the change.  Whether it was raising money to encourage downtown improvements or sponsoring increased pride in the revitalization efforts or promoting and cultivating a new interest in the creative community which is itself helping to revitalize downtown Biddeford, the Heart of Biddeford and Engine were and are at the core of a transformation.  Those efforts were not accidental and instead came through the vision and commitment of a number of individuals  led in large part by this year’s private sector award winner.
This individual is a shining example of someone with the vision to see how creating collaborations and funneling varying degrees of energy can truly be transformative.  We are pleased to recognize those efforts by giving this year's Biddeford Saco Rotary Club Private Sector Award to Tammy Ackerman.
 
 
 
 
 
PUBLIC SECTOR AWARD
 
The Public Sector Award is awarded to a citizen who, in the course of their employment or funding, serves the public with government and/or public monies. Recipients are usually employed by a government agency, hold a political office, or have their good works funded in the course of their employment. An example of a past recipient would be a state senator who has worked towards promoting the good of the community.
Past Winners
 
2014 Carlton D. Pendleton
2015  Michael Tremblay
2016  Alan Casavant
2017 Bill Paterson
2018 Chief Robert MacKenzie
 
                It is so easy to focus our attention on student athletes, outstanding academic students who are off to prestigious post-secondary schools, or young people whose community efforts help to improve the lives of others.  By doing so it is also easy to forget the students who struggle for a variety of reasons including homelessness, abusive families substance misuse or bullying to name a few. The fact is that all students deserve our attention, support and encouragement to enable them to achieve what they want in this world.
 
                This year's Public Sector Award winner is a person who strives every day to make a huge difference in the lives of students who have significant real life challenges.  The person who nominated this person stated: “She helps these students build resilience and cope with significant issues no child should have to overcome – homelessness, anxiety, mental illness and more.” However, the words of the students are a better tribute:
[She] is probably the most genuine person I have ever met.  No one at the Alternative Pathways Center will tell you differently.  Her heart is so full of love for each and everyone one of us.”
“If it wasn’t for [her] I wouldn’t be graduating.”
 
“[She] really cares about her students like no other teacher I have had in the past. She is one of the major factors why I enjoy coming to school. She always makes sure we are okay and it feels really good. I’m going to miss her so much when I graduate!”
 
The results of such caring and thoughtful efforts can be measured.  School attendance of students in Biddeford’s Alternative Pathways Center increased 27% to an almost 89% rate this year.  Students who previously dropped out have come back to school.  The person who nominated this recipient said that she does all of this without reward, but I suspect that every student who stays in school and graduates is her reward.
 
                That fact is that we desperately need more such inspirational mentors and educators and this year’s Public Sector Award winner is a shining example of what caring and dedication can do. This year's deserving recipient of the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club's Public Sector Award is the Director of Biddeford’s Alternative Pathways Center, Martha Jacques.
 
 
 
HUMANITARIAN AWARD
 
The Humanitarian Award is awarded to a citizen, private or public, who has done exceptional work to further the good of humanity in the community. Past Recipients include a nurse who set up a hospice program in the area.
Past Winners
2014 Paul Deschambault
2015  Dennis P. Robillard
2016  James Godbout
2017 Jim McAllister
2018 Reverend Shirley Bowen
 
                It is fairly common to hear:  “But what can I do, I am only one person and the need is so immense.”  Well, thank goodness not all people feel that way and thank goodness for people like this year’s Humanitarian Award winner who clearly knows that one person can make a difference.  The reality is that many of the world’s problems are huge, but if we all take the position that problems are too big so why even bother, we will never start to address those problems little by little.
 
                This year’s honoree is an individual who recognized a significant need in our communities and decided to do something about it.  She saw that many children simply don’t have the clothing they need for living in Maine.  She started by working with the Saco Food Pantry to distribute clothing and now, with the help of the local Rotary Clubs, her organization has its own home adjacent to the Saco Food Pantry.  The organization is Open Hands Open Heart and it was the vision of and sustained by the efforts of this year’s winner whose can do attitude is helping cloth infants through teenagers in York County.  She is living evidence that one person can make a huge difference.
 
                In recognition of her vision and leadership for and her dedication to Open Hands Open Heart the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club is proud to give year's Humanitarian Award to Elaine Fournier.
 
 
 
 
                                                VOCATIONAL SERVICE AWARD
 
The Vocational Service Award is awarded to a citizen, private or public, who has done exceptional work to promote vocational education and vocational programs.
Past Winners
2014 Marcel Bertrand
2015  Kenneth Crepeau
2016  Thornton Academy
2017  Biddeford City Council
2018 Kristy Kendrick
 
I think we can all agree that the need for vocational education is as great as it has ever been.  The demand for the trades is growing yearly and it finally seems that secondary schools are recognizing that the pursuit of four year post-secondary degrees is not for everyone.  All we need to do is look at the exploding student debt associated with sometimes questionable educations while the demand for good paying skilled jobs is ever increasing, and we all know that technical education is simply becoming more and more important. 
 
                While we can all agree with those facts, vocational programs and opportunities for our students have to come from the people in a position to both recognize the need and to do something to address the need.  They have to find the money and they have to be willing to be creative and not just accept the status quo.
 
                Getting permission to allow students to work on our off campus Rotary house was not a given. In fact, convincing the City Council to convey the house to our Club was not a given.  While we can all agree that the Main Street Rotary house was a huge success, it took people with clout to make that happen and at least one person had to stick his neck out to make all the pieces come together.
 
                This year’s vocational award recipient is someone who time and time again has demonstrated an uncharacteristic willingness to think creatively to make things happen with the vocational curriculum or even in doing such things as figuring out how to fund significant improvements to Waterhouse Field.  He is the kind of leader we must thank because he does not just see a need, he also tries to figure out how to address it.
                This year’s Vocational Service Award goes to Biddeford School Superintendent, Jeremy Ray.
 
 
 
 
 
GOODWIN OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD
 
                Back in 2007 our Club decided to honor all of the dedication and contributions of Carl and Earl Goodwin by creating an award in their honor.  In my opinion it is truly the highest honor our club can give to one of its past or present members.
 
Read names of Past Winners
2014 Julie Villemaire
2015 Jim McAllister
2016 Paul H. Deschambault
2017 Karen Chasse
2018 Jim Godbout
 
                Sometimes it is difficult to admit when you have screwed up, but in this case it is easy.  As many of you know I have been the Chair of the Awards Committee for a long time, long before the Goodwin Outstanding Service Award was created.  In all that time there was an individual in this club who truly should have received this award probably right after Carl and Earl.  This club member is someone who has lived Rotary every day of this person’s existence and has poured his heart and soul into Rotary and all that it stands for.  This person is the Rotarians Rotarian who has led with conviction and grace for a very long time. 
                It is with my deepest apologies that this has been so long in coming, and it is my humble honor to give this year’s Goodwin Outstanding Service Award to Past District Governor Ronald Drouin.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
               
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